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VFW Washington Weekly, March 11, 2011

Posted at 03:57 PM on Friday, March 11, 2011 by Dept MO-VFW

1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up
2. Caregiver Hearing
3. GITMO Trials to Resume
4. VFW Invited to Buckles Funeral
5. Five WWII MIAs Identified

1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up: More than 600 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members attended the annual VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Highlights ranged from the selection of Kelsey Woo from California as the 2011 Voice of Democracy winner to presentations from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, USMC, as well as VFW members meeting with their U.S. representatives and senators. VFW National Commander Richard Eubank hosted 100 wounded warriors and their families to dinner, and met with the Coast Guard Commandant and Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, and with the Marine Corps Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, before testifying Tuesday before a joint hearing of the House and Senate VA Committees. He met with President Obama on Wednesday to discuss issues important to America's veterans, servicemembers and families. For more information, to include video, go to www.vfw.org.

2. Caregiver Hearing: The House VA Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on VA's implementation of the caregiver law, which should have begun providing benefits at the end of January. Committee members asked VA and other witnesses to identify the gaps in the law, and what efforts are being made to meet the needs of caregivers. Public Law 111-163 created a comprehensive program of assistance for family caregivers who provide 24/7 care for severely disabled veterans. Congressional leaders sent a letter to the President this week to express their frustration. In his meeting Wednesday with President Obama, VFW National Commander Richard Eubank said his organization isn't advocating speed over quality, but does insist that the VA use clinical evaluations to implement the program fairly to seriously disabled veterans of all generations. For more, go to the House VA Committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/.

3. GITMO Trials to Resume: The United States will resume military tribunals at the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The decision fulfills VFW National Resolutions 433-435, which were passed at last year's National Convention to keep the facility open to try accused terrorists in military courts. There are currently 172 detainees at Guantanamo, down from 242 when President Obama took office. About 500 detainees were released by the Bush administration.

4. VFW Invited to Buckles Funeral: The funeral for fellow VFW member and last American World War I veteran Frank Buckles will be held Tuesday, March 15, at Arlington National Cemetery. Despite news accounts of it being a closed ceremony, the family has invited all VFW members to attend, plus you are strongly encouraged to wear your VFW caps as a sign of unity. Please arrive at the cemetery's administration building by 3:30 p.m. President Obama has ordered U.S. Flags to be flown at half-staff that day to recognize the passing of a generation.

5. Five WWII MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced that the remains of four U.S. Army Air Forces airmen and an American Red Cross civilian have been identified. They are Capt. Lewis J. Geerlings of Freemont, MI; 1st Lt. Ray F. Fletcher of Westboro, MA; Staff Sgt. Edwin Elliott of Mattoon, IL; Cpl. Richard H. Loring from New York; and civilian Carolyn Chapin. On May 10, 1944, the five were aboard a B-25C Mitchell that took off from Corsica on a routine courier mission. The aircraft failed to reach its destination. Read about search and recovery efforts at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/

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